If you're not familiar with the Shirley Sherrod story....Until Monday, Sherrod was the rural development director for the US Department of Agriculture in Georgia. Andrew Breitbart released a heavily edited video purporting to show Sherrod saying that 24 years ago she refused to help a farmer because he was white. It turns out that Breitbart twisted Sherrod's words; Sherrod was actually telling a story designed to illustrate why all forms of racism are wrong and describing how she overcame racism in her life. Indeed, she not only helped the farmer, but according to the farmer's wife, Sherrod saved the farm.Obama needs to reinstate Shirley Sherrod. Now. He can claim it's Vilsack's decision if he wants, but do it, and do it now.
Despite the fact that Sherrod did nothing wrong -- in fact, did everything right -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack fired her after Breitbart's video was released. As you can see in Ben Smith's article, the White House is trying to simultaneously support Vilsack's position and deny responsibility for it. Obviously, Vilsack fired her out of the misguided belief that Breitbart had turned her into a political liability. But not only is that immoral, it's stupid; the backlash against the unjustified dismissal of Shirley Sherrod will dwarf whatever teabagging nonsense Breitbart could have drummed up.